By Ray Hickson
It’s been quite a weekend for Joe Pride. First South Sydney knock over Penrith and move within one win of a Grand Final and now his star sprinter Eduardo has secured his TAB Everest berth.
The Warwick Farm trainer has always maintained Eduardo is a winning chance and that was a big part of his appeal to slot holders The Star & Arrowfield who confirmed the eight-year-old as their runner in next month’s $15m sprint classic.
Arrowfield boss John Messara said Eduardo is a “proven performer” and is effective on all track conditions and those factors make him an appealing prospect.
“That was my only drive, the horse that was going to be most competitive,’’ Messara said.
“We’re partners with The Star and while I’m assisting them we have to make sure it’s the horse with the best chance.
“If Arrowfield had a horse that would be fine but at this stage of the game, with the short time to go and the lead up race to be run on Saturday, we decided to go with this horse.
“I think it’s a safer bet than a lot of the other ones around at the moment, the younger ones coming through.”
Of course Arrowfield is in the ownership of Remarque and while no sprinting three-year-old has announced themselves as a dominant force in their age group he will still get that chance in the Golden Rose.
Pride said Eduardo’s record speaks for itself with three wins from four starts in 2021, including two Group 1s, and his only defeat coming in the Group 1 TJ Smith where he finished a gallant third behind Nature Strip.
“He’s beaten Nature Strip, ran a track record at Randwick. How many horses can boast a record like that,’’ he said.
“I was confident from the start, I didn’t want to be over confident, but he’s the second highest rated sprinter in the world. They’re the Longines ratings, they’re not my ratings.”
The gelding, to be ridden by Nash Rawiller, is on the $15 line with TAB in the all-in Everest market ahead of this Saturday’s Group 2 $500,000 The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick – a race that is going to be the most significant pointer so far to the October 16 grand final.
It will be his only lead up run before his second shot at the Everest having run 11th in 2020.
Pride is adamant that he’s tailored the best program for Eduardo, who has trialled three times recently, to produce a peak second-up.
“It’s all about the preparation I give him,’’ he said.
“I gave him the preparation last time around to win the Galaxy and people can argue 1100m was why he won the Galaxy but I don’t think it was. It was about the preparation.
“It’s about getting him there with the maximum amount of speed in his legs and not having him overdone by the time we get there. It’s second up, a month between runs, and he will go there fresh and ready to do his best.
“The horse I’m taking to the Everest this year is different to the horse I took to the Everest last year.”